As Suffolk courses open, 2 to remain shuttered
Golfers anxious to get back on the greens in Long Island’s easternmost county may find their choices more limited this year than they remember.
Two courses in the Town of Riverhead saw their last rounds played in 2013: Calverton Links and Great Rock Golf Club in Wading River. Both courses shuttered abruptly – Calverton Links on Oct. 31 and Great Rock at the end of December – without giving notice.
In particular, Great Rock, a semi-private 18-hole golf course that featured the popular Blackwell’s Pub, left many members in the lurch, wondering what had become of the now-gated and locked course. Multiple members even reported purchasing gift certificates or booking outings and events for 2014 just days before Great Rock closed for good.
It’s been a tough offseason for most golf courses in Suffolk County, but unlike Calverton and Great Rock, the rest have either reopened or, at the very least, plan to do so in the coming days.
The four golf courses operated by Suffolk County’s Parks Department – Bergen Point in Babylon, Timber Point in Great River, Indian Island in Riverhead and the West Sayville Golf Course – reopened almost two weeks ago, according to Suffolk Parks Commissioner Greg Dawson.
Snow and ice had kept Suffolk’s courses closed since Jan. 20, Dawson said, but that mess was still easier to bounce back from than what he dealt with in 2012.
“Hurricane Sandy forced us to close Timber Point until June (2013),” he said. “We rebounded nicely, but Sandy was much worse than any of the bad winter weather we saw this year.”
Mill Pond in Medford and Rolling Oaks in Rocky Point – both owned by the Town of Brookhaven – also had to overcome a tough winter in which the courses had to shut down, but were able to reopen as of last week.
Steve Hayes, general manager of both Mill Pond and Rolling Oaks, said this has been the slowest start the golf courses have ever gotten off to due to the weather, but said the courses are still in pretty good shape.
“We’re continuing to make improvements to the golf course at Mill Pond, like bunker restoration, so golfers can at least look forward to that,” Hayes said.
And those looking for a total family experience should check out the currently open Heartland Golf Park in Edgewood, a nine-hole, par 3 experience that also features a driving range and mini golf course.
But others have been unable to hoist the open banners following the treacherous winter.
The nine-hole golf course on the grounds of Northport’s Veterans Affairs Hospital, for example, remained closed as of Monday afternoon, with an answering machine message informing customers that it simply hoped to reopen “as soon as possible.”